By Dave Montalbano
King Kong vs. Godzilla will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. This international classic has been an influence for young people. The Japanese art form of “anime” is the flower that this film seeded.
Pacific Rim also owes a debt to this classic. This new release opens in 2013 when the first Kaiju attacks the California shores. Kaijus are giant sea creatures from the Pacific rim that want to eradicate mankind. The world governments unite and create the Jaeger Program. Jaegers are giant robots that are used to battle the Kaijus, piloted by two people in the central processing unit.
The robot vs. sea monster battles become a generational conflict. During one such battle, Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) loses his brother and his Jaeger, Gipsey Danger, is sent into a storage unit. After years of self-imposed exile, Raleigh is greeted by his old boss, Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba). The Kaijus are planning a full frontal assault and the Gipsey Danger must be taken out of mothballs in what could be mankind’s last stand.
Like a good war movie from the Golden Age of Hollywood, Pacific Rim snatches victory from the jaws of defeat. Character clichés mount and Mr. Pentecost gives a rousing speech about the survival of mankind with a nod to Shakepeare’s Henry V and Bill Pullman from Independence Day.
Co-written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, this film is the director’s first movie in five years. Despite being on the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery IMAX screen, del Toro’s visual eye seems a bit rusty.
All of the battles take place at night, in the rain or underwater. Fortunately, his attention to detail is not lost in the background, especially in Hong Kong scenes that look like Disneyworld Epcot at night.
Ironically, the secondary characters create most of the audience empathy. Ron Perlman shines as Hannibal Chau, an entrepreneur who sells Jaeger anatomy on the black market. Nerds Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Gottleib (Burn Gorman) steal the spotlight as bickering scientists who unlock the secrets of the Kajiu.
Pacific Rim is the victim of high expectations. Fans of giant monsters and robots like the film. It should be interesting to see if the film will be remembered in 2063 anno domini.
Fans of the 1963 film King Kong vs. Godzilla will have an opportunity to see this epic FREE on the big screen August 17 at 2 p.m. For more information, call 954-357- 6530 at Imperial Point Library.